A Cincinnati Homeowner's Complete Guide To HVAC Efficiency Ratings

by Greg Leisgang on April 12, 2012

Posted in: Energy Savings

energy efficiencyWhen selecting HVAC equipment, especially whole-house equipment such as air conditioners, heat pumps and furnaces, you'll often find a huge variation in price among models and brands. So how can you tell what you are getting for your money or if the extra cost will reap some benefit? Understanding HVAC efficiency ratings can help.

HVAC efficiency ratings show homeowners how much energy a system will use over one season to produce conditioned air. With this information in hand, you can estimate monthly energy savings when upgrading to a more efficient system.

Gas (and oil) furnace efficiency is rated via Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE). This rating shows how much of the fuel burned is returned as heat and how much is wasted. This number should be at least 78, a minimum standard set by the government, but can be as high as 98. The higher the number the more money you'll save.

Air conditioners
The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating applies to cooling efficiency. A higher SEER rating indicates a more efficient air conditioner. While it's generally true that higher HVAC efficiency ratings are more expensive to purchase, higher efficiency systems also reduce electric bills, producing consistently better savings over time. SEER minimum ratings start at 13, with high-efficiency systems ranging from SEER 16 to 23.

Heat pumps
Heating and Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) rates the heating efficiency of heat pumps, and they will also have a SEER rating for cooling. Minimum standards for heat pump efficiency begin at 7.7, but the most efficient heat pumps will have an HSPF rating between 8 and 10. Again, spending a little more now for a higher-efficiency unit will save a lot of money down the road.

If you need help choosing a system, contact the HVAC experts serving the Greater Cincinnati area at JonLe Heating & Cooling. We can help you estimate savings by looking at HVAC efficiency ratings,or just call us to ask a question.


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